Do You Ever Struggle With Boundaries Problems?

30 Jul 2020

What kind of a relationship do you have with boundaries? Are boundaries something that you know you need to acquire? But don’t quite see how to get from where you are now to where you would ideally like to be?

What kind of a relationship do you have with boundaries? Are boundaries something that you know you need to acquire? But don’t quite see how to get from where you are now to where you would ideally like to be?

Does the mention of boundaries make you feel a tad sheepish because various people have made you feel that you should have them all sorted by your age – like they know what they are talking about and you don’t?

This week, the theme in my private client work seems to have been boundaries. Not that my clients have come to me this week and said,

“Annie, I need to work on my boundaries.”

That doesn’t happen.

People just want to stop experiencing the trauma of the toxic relationship that they have been through and feel normal. They don’t want to have to do anything that will meaning saying “No” to other people and risk any more judgement and criticism than they have already been subjected to.

That feeling of powerlessness

What my clients have been talking about has been that sense of powerlessness born of feeling bad about themselves and feeling acutely anxious and frustrated about aspects of their personal and professional lives. They have asked the question,

“But what can I do about the situation?”

Although the situations were different for different clients, the underlying issue was the same. They felt powerless to act in a situation because they were duty-bound to show up in a certain way. Any failure to show up in that way could be regarded as

  • Acting badly
  • Being selfish
  • Being inconsiderate/irresponsible/disloyal/ungrateful or
  • Going to the bad.

In reality, the only chance of them “going to the bad” lay within their own mind – carefully programmed into them by an abuser.

The real problem that they faced was feeling powerless to act because of what they thought they owed other people.

Why you even need boundaries

This, of course, is where the whole boundaries issue comes in.

Abusive people teach you not to have boundaries. They teach you that you have endless responsibilities – or, more correctly, obligations – to prioritize every want, need, or whim that they might have. Yet you have no rights What kind of a relationship do you have with boundaries? Are boundaries something that you know you need to acquire? But don’t quite see how to get from where you are now to where you would ideally like to be?and saying “No” to something that doesn’t work for you is seen as selfishness. You are never meant to factor yourself into the equation.

So, for example, “my” abusive ex used to burst into the house at the end of his working day and demand that his home made, gourmet meal be ready for him. Often it was. Sometimes it wasn’t. When it wasn’t it was because I had worked all day, too, and looked after our daughter etc. etc. You know the score. None of this is unusual.

However, what I was not getting, at all, was a sense of perspective.

No boundaries means a lack of perspective

All the abuse a toxic person puts you through works to rob you of a sense of perspective.

So, the thing that I simply could not see was that it was not my obligation to service my partner’s every need over and above my own, at whatever cost to me.

Because I had no boundaries, I had no sense of being justified in saying to him,

“Guess what, Sweet Pea. We have an issue here. We are both tired and hungry. How about we share the responsibility of ensuring that we get fed to an acceptable standard?”

Now, I don’t suppose that Sweet Pea (no, I didn’t call him that, for obvious reasons) would have responded too well.

Abusers object to being called to account.

But we need to think about the big picture here.

If I had known to insist on my own equal rights and no more than equal opportunities, Sweet Pea would have been a very short stay person in my life.  I reckon we might, might just have made it to the three month mark – given that we were living in different cities and didn’t see that much of each other.

Endless responsibilities but zero rights

Sadly, I didn’t even mention my own equal rights.

That didn’t happen for one simple reason,

My parents had already taught me that I had endless responsibilities and zero rights.

Rights were things that I had to earn, starting from scratch. Every single day.

When you have been brought up in that kind of system – and a lot of us have – then the conventional talk about “boundaries” might as well be something you hear in a foreign language that you don’t speak.  You may catch the odd English word but you have to guess at the meaning of what is actually being said.

That brings me on to what I am so fired up about, the Boundaries Warrior bundle that I am currently creating.

Resources instead of should’s

This will bring together more resources than you can shake a stick at to understand and implement boundaries confidently and effectively.

I don’t believe in telling people what they should do – not least because I know from personal experience that “should”-ing mostly serves to make a person feel inadequate.

What I believe in is showing someone:

  • Why something is so important
  • The powerful difference that thing will make in their life
  • How much their quality of life can improve as a result
  • What is getting in the way
  • How they can overcome it
  • Providing the missing resources that they need together with
  • Simple strategies for successfully implementing the thing that they didn’t feel able or comfortable to do before.

This Boundaries Warrior bundle will be far more comprehensive, user-friendly and concrete than anything that I have ever seen.

As I am creating it, I am getting more and more excited because I realise that,

  • This is the precious, detailed information that I normally only share with private clients
  • Plus, it is collated and organised in an easy to follow form that gives you a 360 degree perspective on boundaries.
  • It is sufficiently in depth so that you feel that you have all the elements you feel to apply the material effectively in your own life
  • By transforming the way that you show up in your personal and professional life, it can only radically improve the results that you get.
  • I already have people who can’t wait to get to work with it because they know that it will help them move past a major obstacle to restoring their happiness and self-esteem.

There is only thing worse than doing things that turn out to be counterproductive and, quite possibly, harmful to you. That is blaming yourself for not being able to do better – when you didn’t have the skills and resources to do better.

If you are sick and tired of feeling like a doormat or a pushover, worrying if it is selfish of you to think about doing what is right for you or feeling that you have to settle for whatever you can get, then better boundaries could well be the answer.

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Annie Kaszina, international Emotional Abuse Recovery specialist and award-winning author of 3 books designed to help women recognise and heal from toxic relationships so that they can build healthy, lasting relationships with the perfect partner for them, blogs about all aspects of abuse, understanding Narcissists and how to avoid them and building strong self-worth. To receive Annie’s blog direct to your Inbox just leave your details here.

5 thoughts on “Do You Ever Struggle With Boundaries Problems?”

    • Thank you, Nancy.

      I suspect there is a typo in the word “worm”. My guess is that it should be” work”. I say this because, otherwise, it sounds almost like one of the strange people who pop up in my Instagram comments to sell something like voodoo dolls or magic spells – and I absolutely know that that is not at all what you mean. 🙂

      Warm wishes,

      Annie

      Reply
  1. You have helped me so very much as I have gone through my journey, out of abuse and in time emotionally healthy! 💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝💝
    I am excited for this chapter!!

    Reply

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